Dr. Alan Braid publicly admitted that he violated the near-total ban on abortions in Texas during the first week after the law went into effect.
In an op-ed published online by The Washington Post on Saturday, Dr. Braid discussed graduating from the University of Texas medical school in 1972, before the Roe v. Wade decision.
"At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions. One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection," he explained. "In medical school in Texas, we'd been taught that abortion was an integral part of women's health care. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, it enabled me to do the job I was trained to do."
He described the new law as "1972 all over again."
"And that is why, on the morning of Sept. 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state's new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care," he explained. "I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn't get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested."
His experience in 1972 motivated his actions, he explained.
"I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it's something I believe in strongly. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8," he wrote. "I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can't just sit back and watch us return to 1972."
Read the full column.